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Cats in your garden?

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  Triciasgarden on 4/24/2013, 4:31 pm

My experience with cats is that they love the soft MM and will keep coming and using your beds. I had a huge amount of ferrel cats using my beds and they will climb over chicken wire, go past moth balls, pepper flakes sprinkled on the top, deterrent sprays and even sticks put in every few inches. Even if you have most of the bed covered, they will find the spot that is not covered and leave their mess and dig up your seeds and plants in the process. I still have not found an answer to the question if the soil is then contaminated. So my suggestion is to do something right away and major to keep whatever that "went" in there, out of your garden so it doesn't make a habit of using your beds as its bathroom.

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Re: What besides a cat covers its business - a mound in the middle of my SFG

Post  iiiigardener on 4/24/2013, 5:37 pm

Okay, so far the consensus is that it is a cat. We posted on our neighborhood HOA facebook page asking if anyone had seen a stray or knew if a family had an indoor/outdoor cat. We'll wait and see what the answer is but if no answer, maybe get a trap and trap and release it in a wilderness area?

I was half afraid it might be a wild animal but if cats can "do it" as big as a dog, it has the hallmarks of cat all over it.

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  plantoid on 4/24/2013, 5:49 pm

@iiiigardener wrote:Okay, so far the consensus is that it is a cat. We posted on our neighborhood HOA facebook page asking if anyone had seen a stray or knew if a family had an indoor/outdoor cat. We'll wait and see what the answer is but if no answer, maybe get a trap and trap and release it in a wilderness area?

I was half afraid it might be a wild animal but if cats can "do it" as big as a dog, it has the hallmarks of cat all over it.

Apparently Jaguar, Jaguarundi, Ocelot and Margay are Texan wild cats , they don't usually bury their droppings unless there is a bigger predator or another large cat in the area .
Just found this ... It's not the most reliable of answers but it agrees with what I've said .

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090112204041AAwO5mf

Have you been using Zoo Doo in your beds ?

It could also be that some idiot has illegally released a large tamed cat as they cannot handle it any more , if so you have probs and need to get a dollpop of the cat muck to a zoo for examination to see what steps have to be taken to sort out the problem .

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  Triciasgarden on 4/24/2013, 7:59 pm

That would be quite scary! If there is a chance it is one of the wild cats Plantoid mentioned, it may be a good idea to call a wildlife expert or take the poo to the zoo. lol! I have never had one of the ferrel cats take up a whole 12" in covering their poo. It is probably at the very very most 4-6" and there are usually paw prints that give a good indication that there may be a deposit close by. Some "deposits" are quite inconspicuous so that article seems quite true.

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  jjlonsdale on 4/24/2013, 11:28 pm

In McKinney? Well, we DO still have bobcats in the DFW area, and they're about twice the size of housecats. (Of course that's a VERY general statement, as both housecats and bobcats can vary greatly in size.) It depends on how rural you are, but my parents are in Coppell (which is HARDLY out in the sticks!) and they've seen a bobcat wandering around the outskirts of a small wood at the edge of their neighborhood.

It's slightly weird to think that that kind of wild animal would bother to come all the way into your garden to poop and mess up your veggies, but then, felines are kind of inscrutable like that.

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  littlesapphire on 4/25/2013, 9:21 am

My guess is, along with everyone else, some kind of feline. I have a lot of feral cats in my area too, and I've battled with them a lot over the years. The only thing I know that actually works is a tall fence with no gaps at the bottom (my cat can crawl under a dresser that's only 3 inches off the ground).



I have tried using the plastic fork method, but I quickly found out that you need a ton of forks for it to actually work. The good thing is, that if the cat still manages to find a way to poo in the garden, you have something right there to dig it out with, lol



There shouldn't be any problem with planting in your garden, if you removed all the poo. After all, you probably have cow or chicken poo in your garden already. Cats, especially wild/outside cats, can carry a disease called Toxoplasmosis, which they get from eating infected rodents. You can get it by handling the poo and then not washing your hands. It's usually benign (most cat owners have actually already gotten it, and once you have it, you can't get it again), but they say that pregnant women and people with poor immune systems should be very careful. It won't transmit to your plants, but it may stay in the soil (I haven't actually looked this up, so it might not). If you have never had toxoplasmosis and you're either pregnant or have a weak immune system, always wear gloves or have someone else work in the soil for you. There's a test you can get at your doctor's to see if you've had toxoplasmosis, but if you've ever had outdoor cats, you probably have had it.

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Re: What besides a cat covers its business - a mound in the middle of my SFG

Post  iiiigardener on 4/25/2013, 9:44 am

It has been interesting talking to my neighborhood group (on facebook) at length for the first time regarding their cats habits. It turns out that there are two indoor/outdoor cats that are able to leap tall (6ft) wood fences in a single bound rather than tunneling infantry style under the gaps of the fence/ground.

Having ascertained that, then came the delicate questions regarding diameter, length, and sheer volume of their deposits. Neither even come close. Think the diameter of a man's thumb and three times as long in the "mound". As I said, interesting way to meet your extended neighbors. I had hoped it would be with an invite to share extra veggies instead of pet potty habits.

While we don't live far out, there are certainly pockets of "wild" around us. More to the point, there is a creek in the midst of the housing (maybe that's why the neighborhood is calling "Winding Creek") and bobcats have been seen here more than once. Keeping out a bobcat might be a tad difficult! At least there is now a warning for anyone who keeps their small animals out in the yards (lots of little dogs around here.)

If we get another gift, we'll take it to our vet for investigation. When I lived in California, my husband and I were involved with cat rescue (in fact, our 15 year old cats were all rescues from a feral cat who lived under our house that we finally caught, fixed, and then let live out her life in our yard), so chances are we've had the virus. On the other hand, my elder daughter is pregnant and hasn't had it, so I may not want to share with her from that bed. I think the presence increases the chance of miscarriage.

Thankfully, I found out about the outside cats before I had my landscaper rip out my lawn around the beds to put in crushed granite. A neighbor did something like this in California and turned a part of her front yard into the world's largest cat box. Now I have to figure out a less cat box like solution for keeping Bermuda grass from invading my beds (even with the landscape cloth down, it's finding its way into the edges of the beds. Maybe a new topic in the making....

Thanks everyone its been really interesting talking pooh with y'all.

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The Aha moment

Post  iiiigardener on 4/25/2013, 10:42 am

Well, we may have found what caused a bobcat to venture into our backyard. We went to remove our frost cloth from the delicate veggies and took a good look around to see if we had received more treasures. What we found was the remanent of a nest in the midst of our shallot/garlic bed and from the scuffs what looked like a small but mighty duel had been waged. Unlike the "Princess Bride", we don't think the loser ran off... We had seen a morning dove hanging around the bed last week and this week, no dove. No feathers either, so we think that means a much bigger cat than the neighbors.

To put it delicately, we feel that balance has been restored in the universe (or at least in our SFG). Something taken with one end and then something else given with the other.

We pulled the lettuce but I'm not tossing my shallots.

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  Lindacol on 4/25/2013, 11:32 am

You need this:
http://www.amazon.com/Contech-CRO101-Scarecrow-Activated-Sprinkler/dp/B000071NUS

There are several threads on the forum here that have mentioned it before with good results.

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  jjlonsdale on 4/25/2013, 11:41 am

And, for a grin, be sure to check out the "user-submitted images" on that Amazon page too.

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cats and gardens

Post  jazzycat on 4/25/2013, 1:42 pm

On the subject of cats and gardens, one of my cats is sleeping in my raised bed, and I've caught her peeing in it (once). No poo, just pee. I added deer netting, she got through. I added hoops and tulle, she got through that as well. I was going to add chicken wire, but I rethought that. Here's why.

Because we also have rats around here (which I KNOW is true, because she and another one of my cats regularly kill them, and my other cat eats them (he used to be feral but he adopted me)) I've decided (for now) that I would rather she have access to the garden, and keep the rodents out, than put up some kind of fence that keeps her out, but lets them in (rodents can collapse their shoulder blades and get under the tiniest of cracks/spaces). Rodents carry much worse diseases than cats, and because she's my cat, I know she's healthy. I am planning on building a smaller bed with greens that cats like to try and entice her out of that one, but in the meantime, I'm looking at the problem from a different angle, that she is providing me with a service, keeping the rats at bay. Of course, this is all speculation on my part.

So, what do you guys think? All that food in the grocery store, we have NO IDEA what's been in those gardens. And, packaged foods actually have acceptable amounts of things like rat hairs that are allowed in them. Gross, for sure, but also true. So. Opinions?

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/25/2013, 2:06 pm

Honestly, you want my opinion? I'm of the opinion that I try to maintain somewhat of a healthy lifestyle, but I also try not to worry myself to death with every little detail. I've been known to eat things off the floor well after the 5 second rule has passed. I eat corndogs and hot dogs and love em. I pluck things right outta the garden, give em wipe with my grubby fingers and enjoy the fruits of my labor right there. I've always been of the opinion that getting a little nastiness in your system does a bit of good. I've known some extremely health conscious folks and they always seem a bit sickly. I think perhaps they need a lil dirt in their diet.

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  brenda g on 4/25/2013, 2:14 pm

I agree with rooster - to an extent haha!

I currently have this problem too - but with a cat that is not mine - so have been learning about disease risk and parasites spreading to my animals as a result. Evil or Very Mad I have not found much on how cat urine/ feces could affect plants and soil, though the thought does not appeal to me (at least with your cat you have some awareness of it's health status though!). I'm interested to see if anyone here has any info on that.

I don't mean to get on my soapbox about it but please, please keep in mind that if your cat(s) is outside it may well be a problem for your neighbors (if you have any) and they won't know your cat's health status or love it like you do.

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  Turan on 4/25/2013, 2:17 pm

@RoOsTeR wrote:Honestly, you want my opinion? I'm of the opinion that I try to maintain somewhat of a healthy lifestyle, but I also try not to worry myself to death with every little detail. I've been known to eat things off the floor well after the 5 second rule has passed. I eat corndogs and hot dogs and love em. I pluck things right outta the garden, give em wipe with my grubby fingers and enjoy the fruits of my labor right there. I've always been of the opinion that getting a little nastiness in your system does a bit of good. I've known some extremely health conscious folks and they always seem a bit sickly. I think perhaps they need a lil dirt in their diet.

+1

I think people fuss too much but it is their fuss, not mine, so what ever makes you happy with your garden. Just don't expect me to join in that particular fuss.

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  camprn on 4/25/2013, 2:18 pm

Oh man, I wish I had one of those Icelandic hot dogs right now....... with the crunchy bits and spicy mustard... drooling

But seriously, there are things to worry about and actively change and things to monitor, all without obsessing about it. Life is too short to continually fret, at least in my world.


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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  jazzycat on 4/25/2013, 3:26 pm

Pretty much my thoughts as well. I tried to find out if, and why, cat pee would be bad, since human pee is actually good for the garden. I could find nothing. So, unless she starts destroying my plants, I'm not going to worry about it.

About the neighbor issue... I do have a few neighbors who also have gardens. I know all of my neighbors, and none of them have said anything to me about it. They all know we have rats around here, and that the neighborhood cats are responsible for keeping the population at bay. (There are many people around here who have outdoor cats. This is cat friendly neighborhood, at least around my house and on my street.) The only people I don't know very well are a couple who moved in recently next door. They have a garden, and I gave them a couple of my tomato plants. I have told them which cats are mine, and to let me know if they cause a problem, and also that they kill the rats. Hopefully, if there is a problem, they will talk to me about it.

Thanks everyone for weighing on. Very Happy

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Re: What besides a cat covers its business - a mound in the middle of my SFG

Post  iiiigardener on 4/25/2013, 4:27 pm

Thanks for the suggestions re sprinklers. I will look into it. When I checked Amazon, I even found a version that runs on solar power and has its own water supply built in. I think a combination of both types might work well for me.

My major concern was that it was something more than a regular cat - not for my garden's sake but for my neighbors pets and possibly small ones who might think a bobcat was a kitty and approach it.

I was also glad to find out about the outside cats before we put crushed granite down around the beds. Still pondering what to do otherwise to keep out the bermuda grass.

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  plantoid on 4/25/2013, 5:13 pm

Put " stools of a bobcat " into google and look at the images/ pictures , the ruler thing is in one inch sections .

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  camprn on 4/25/2013, 5:20 pm

I have combined several threads about cats in the garden.

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  Triciasgarden on 4/25/2013, 10:14 pm

I looked at those pictures Plantoid and could almost smell it! Shocked lol!

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  iiiigardener on 4/26/2013, 1:15 am

Thanks, plantoid, looking at the images make a real difference. It seems certain that we had a bobcat in our garden two nights ago. Lured, no doubt, by the morning dove who was nesting in our shallots.

We put out a warning to our neighbors to keep their pets in at night. This time of year is when the bobcats have their litters, so they are probably pretty hungry right now. There is construction going on right near the creek, so it is probably flushing the wildlife out. I hope the neighbors take heed and they don't have to explain to their kids the circle of life based on Fido having been eaten by a bobcat. I also have to remember to be careful as construction can flush rattlesnakes out of the creek, too.

I'm going to try the sprinkler head, using the one that is battery operated with its own water supply. If that doesn't work, I'll move to the one with the hose hook-up. I'm a tad leery of keeping a hose turned on all the time if I can avoid it.

Critter cages seem to be in our future, too.

For those familiar with this area, we live about a mile or so from Raytheon on University. My daughter is a mechanical engineer there and she tells me that they have mountain lions in their gated area (which is pretty large and wooded.)

Thanks again, all.

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Definitely a bobcat and maybe some coyotes, too

Post  iiiigardener on 4/29/2013, 1:58 pm

Well, some of my neighbors thought we were a little nuts regarding the bobcat but last night it was visually spotted running down the block to the rear of ours. Also, some coyotes were spotted. We're in a fairly dense housing neighborhood but that creek will bring in the critters. A neighbor has spotted three baby rattlesnakes while out walking her dog. I wonder if they like to hide in SFG squares that are nice and shady (like beans and peas, etc.)

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  jazzycat on 4/29/2013, 8:56 pm

@iiiigardener wrote:Well, some of my neighbors thought we were a little nuts regarding the bobcat but last night it was visually spotted running down the block to the rear of ours. Also, some coyotes were spotted. We're in a fairly dense housing neighborhood but that creek will bring in the critters. A neighbor has spotted three baby rattlesnakes while out walking her dog. I wonder if they like to hide in SFG squares that are nice and shady (like beans and peas, etc.)

YIKES! That's a scary thought! Shocked

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  drixnot on 4/30/2013, 9:17 am

On the subject of a bobcat vs. a domestic cat in the neighborhood. I won't say that a bobcat is out of the question... but I wouldn't dismiss the idea that it is just a house cat either. Some breeds of cat can get quite large and really do look like something from the wild.



And a regular sized housecat will gladly eat a morning dove even if it looks to big of a meal and a cat that doesn't eat its kill will instinctually carry it off to a more secure location.

Coyotes on the other hand ... now that isn't something that would surprise me in the least

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Re: Cats in your garden?

Post  iiiigardener on 4/30/2013, 9:26 am

Hi, drixnot:

Could be (what a beautiful cat!) but our neighbor's sighting of a bobcat seems to confirm the theory. The dove is gone and there weren't any feathers, etc. that I might expect from a regular cat.

I'm just hoping my neighbors will bring their pets in at night and caution their children about bobcats, coyotes, and especially baby rattlesnakes. There are quite a number of little ones that run around the neighborhood who might never have seen a snake. Texas has a huge number of new transplants who aren't quite ready for the wildlife. I moved here eight years ago but the areas of California and Florida I lived in had a lot of the same animals so I grew up with a healthy respect for them.

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Re: Cats in your garden?

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